July 23, 2010

Peoria forward growing through AAU season

Peoria (Ill.) power forward Max Bielfeldtis getting used to the speed of AAU basketball, as well as being the object of interest for college basketball coaches. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward holds scholarship offers from Wright State, Western Michigan and Ball State, while

Bielfeldt has been playing basketball this summer for SYS Players at tournaments in Indiana, Milwaukee, Maryville and Elgin (Ill.), collecting titles in four of five tournaments. Along the way, he has seen his own skills improve as he gets used to the speed of the game.

"At the beginning of the year I was barely scoring because the transition from high school to AAU is such a difference in terms of size and quickness," Bielfeldt said. "I have gotten used to it and I have been scoring a lot more."

Last season Bielfeldt averaged 12 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots per game for Peoria's Notre Dame High School. He said he has been battling through tendonitis in his left knee and a sprained right ankle to work on his speed and explosiveness. Bielfeldt said he is almost fully recovered from the injuries. He said he has been learning to use his size to his advantage and using a developing mid-range game.

"I think I really use my size to my advantage and always find a way to score. I've been complimented by coaches about using angles and beating my defender," he said. "If there is a guy who is a lot bigger and tough to push around, I can use a mid-range jumper and occasionally a mid-range shot when I need to."

On the recruiting front, Bielfeldt has been to Western Michigan and Ball State. He also has plans to get to Wright State as well as Fort Collins to check out Colorado State.

"I liked the campus at Western Michigan," Bielfeldt said. "It is not too big, not too small. Everything is within walking distance. They are in some construction with their gym, so I didn't get to see that 100 percent, but I enjoyed it. They have great workout facilities and the coaching staff is a great group of people."

"Ball State, really it is similar," he continued. "I enjoyed their arena. They have a nice arena for their size of school. Their campus is beautiful and their coaching staff is good too. Their assistance coach, Mitch Gillstone's little brother plays on my Notre Dame basketball team."

Bielfeldt said he plans to take a visit to Wright State the first week in July before realizing the NCAA does not allow visits in July. He said he also planned on getting to Colorado State.

"I haven't visited CSU yet, but I am planning to this fall," Bielfeldt said. "I gotta expand what I've seen. I've only made two visits and hopefully I can make some more. Niko (Medved) is recruiting me. I've looked it up the school online and their campus looks gorgeous in Colorado."

Bielfeldt said he has some certain ideas for what he is looking for in a school.

"I am looking to play for a team where I will get playing time on," Bielfeldt said. "I want a team that I work well with the coaching staff and players and enjoy being there. The campus won't be too big and won't be too small."

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